Colleagues have shared their stories of life at Next and as an LGBTQ+ person or ally.
If you would like to share your story click here

Susan Lister

Assistant Operations Manager |
Online Customer Service Team Doncaster

Susan tells us about a new addition to the family!

My daughter Jen and daughter in law Fran were married in April 2019 and we are immensely proud of them both.  Both are school teachers teaching History and English in Nottinghamshire.

This year they celebrate Pride with a new addition to their family, baby Esther June Gilbert, who was born in February 2022 and as you can see she is thriving with the enormous amount of love and care she is blessed with.

When I look at these photos I SEE only LOVE, HAPPINESS and CONTENTMENT .... and I FEEL PRIDE in everything they have achieved as individuals, as a couple, and now as awesome new parents. 

Celebrations have already begun at home with rainbows and sunshine both indoors and outdoors - I am a very PROUD mum and Nanan.  Esther, Jen and Fran just light up our lives.

Aiden Meade

Warehouse Operative I Victoria's Secret, Doncaster

How long have you worked for Next?
6 months!

Tell us a bit about your role and your career with Next..

I mainly work in the distribution side for Victoria secrets but also can help out whether I am needed. For me personally It’s a great place to work! 

Tell us about you as an LGBT+ person or ally...

I take people as I meet them, we all have other issues happening outside of work, but support is what everyone needs and in this day and age! In my mind there is no tolerance for any discrimination. 

Are you involved in any groups, communities or charities that you would like to shout about?

Andy’s man club based in Doncaster has helped a lot of people I know through really tough times.

Do you have an important person in your life that you would like to tell us about?

My mother is by far the strongest, most loving person you will ever meet, I can’t put in to words what she means to me but hey I am biased haha

Siobhan Cooper

Assistant Site Manager | Elmsall Drive Complex

How long have you worked for Next?
Just a year

Tell us a bit about your role and your career with Next... 

I came to Next as a Team Manager in March 2020, just before Covid struck. I can only describe it as an unorthodox introduction to the business - I never thought that my third week would have me putting stickers on the floor. 

Within my first 9 months I had managed three different departments, which gave me the opportunity to learn how the business operates as well as meeting hundreds of our team. 

Then in December 2020 I was lucky enough to be offered Assistant Site Manager where I have now been in role for 6 months.

Do you have an important person in your life that you would like to tell us about? 

My parents are a real inspiration. My mum and her wife have been together for 24 years and back when they first met the stigma around being LGBT was still very prevalent. They faced a lot of resistance from their parents when they met, but are still going strong all these years later.

What does Pride mean to you and why is it important?

Pride gives LGBT+ individuals the opportunity to truly be who they are. It is a time to celebrate but also to reflect on how far the UK has come (remember NI only legalised same sex marriage in 2020) but also those countries that still have a long way to go. With so many individuals of different nationalities working for Next, many of whom cannot be their true selves in their home countries, it really is a time to come together and be proud of who we are.

Robyn Holmes

Team Manager | Doncaster Complex

How long have you worked for Next?
Nearly 8 years

Tell us a bit about your role and your career with Next... 

I started with the company when I was 19 as a part-time replen assistant in one of our retail stores while studying my law degree. After graduating (and deciding I didn't want to pursue a career in law at the time), I progressed to Office Co-ordinator before transferring into the distribution side of the business as a Team Manager - working at Elmsall and Toftshaw before settling at Doncaster where I've been for the last 4 years.

Tell us about you as an LGBT+ person or ally...  

While I studied law, I studied an elective module on Gender and the Law which had an LGBT+ slant; covering things such as the Gender Recognition Act and the rights of same-sex parents and donors. I found that not all of our laws are LGBT+ inclusive, and in areas such as sexual offences there is a distinct lack of gender neutrality which is why I wrote my long dissertation on why I felt the Sexual Offences Act should be a gender neutral offence - as it only acknowledges and protects victims of rape who's perpetrator has male genitalia. I define as a gay woman and so it was during this period in my life that I became aware of and wanted to be more involved in the LGBT+ community - because sadly there is still a lot of progress to be made with regards to equality under the law.

Dominik Grzesik

Warehouse Operative | Isps Elmsall Way

How long have you worked for Next?
Over 5 years now

Tell us a bit about your role and your career with Next... 

I have started working for Next ,back in 2015 , as a picker. Throughout all those years Next has made loads of changes to its Elmsall complex warehouses. Its quite nice going back with memories on how this place used to look before, how nice the people from the team I used to work with were and how we sticked together as a team. After the shiftchange I have changed my department twice first for packing and currently I have moved onto the new department called ISPS. 

Tell us about you as an LGBT+ person or ally...  

I come from Poland where LGBT+ rights currently are not as respected as they are in the UK. Our current conservative president Andrzej Duda has called us an ideology and an enemy to the traditional family values. That is why I think that Next is doing great job to support its LGBT+ employees. 

Do you have anybody important in your life that you would like to tell us about?

Yes. My family which always has supported me , even more when I came out to them. 

Karl Pearson

System Controller | Dearne Valley

How long have you worked for Next?
Since 2003

Tell us a bit about your role and your career with Next... 

I started at Next in 2003 at the Meadowhall store and transferred to distribution 10 years ago. I currently work at DVP in the control room. We monitor the stock movement and report faults and issues. 

Tell us about you as an LGBT+ person or ally...  

I met my husband in Sheffield, he came over from China and was studying for a Masters at the university. We went on a few dates and I helped him with some grammar in his studying. At the time I only had a motorcycle and we went on a tour of Scotland using Airbnb... it was an awesome holiday. 

We were only together a year and we got married in the Sheffield Town Hall with just 2 witnesses. We didn't want a big do and couldn’t really afford one either. We just celebrated our 3rd anniversary in December. 

When he finished studying he got a job at Huawei in Reading. The traveling was a little rubbish and parking was terrible but he soon moved up to Birmingham and got a post grad job at MG in Longbridge. It was going really well until SAIC motors downsized the U.K. operation and he got made redundant. So he now works at Lotus in Norwich. The travelling wasn’t too bad and it’s a lovely city. 

I work 3 on 3 off shift pattern so I can travel down a lot, but since COVID19 he’s been working from home in Sheffield and it’s been awesome for us in that respect. We love eating out and going to the cinema and walking the dogs (Cross and Cookie) in the Peak District so that’s all been put on hold. Luckily he’s a great cook so we’re not doing too bad. We’ve got Cross and Cookie to keep us busy and we’re both still working so hopefully we can get out of this current situation and get some travelling done.

It’s been a long process getting Luis’ permanent right to remain. It takes time and we’re almost there. You have to fill in a huge form and prove you can take financial care of yourselves and provide evidence. You apply for 2.5 years, then a further 2.5 years and then finally indefinitely leave. We’re at the final stage next year. It also costs a lot, each application includes NHS surcharge and thousands for the application itself. I’m looking forward to getting it completed next year that’s for sure. 

Hope everyone is keeping well and looking forward to seeing more from the next pride team. 


Scrum Master | Poznan, Poland

How long have you worked for Next?
Since June 2019

Tell us a bit about your role and your career with Next... 

I started as a Senior Tester in Product Systems Department but after 2 months I got a proposal to move to project in Warehouse. Basically, I was responsible for the quality process and I was performing manual tests. 

In March 2020 I got an offer to try a new thing which is being a Scrum Master. It was my first time I was in this role. What I do daily basis is run all scrum events, help my team to deliver pieces of working application as soon as possible in good quality. Work together with Product Owners on a backlog which means what we should build and how the application should work. Take care of my team help them grow and solve any problems.

Tell us about you as an LGBT+ person or ally...  

I live in Poland and as my friend (she isn't Polish) always says 'your country is 50 years behind in comparison to the rest of the world'. Can't blame her because it's true. 

When I was in school and even during my studies the awareness of LGBT didn't exist only in some underground communities. It was like a big secret no one spoke about gay people in public. Just to remind I was a student 10 years ago so it's not that long time ago. Back then it was hard to think about your orientation or talk to someone. There were some webpages but it wasn't easy to find them. 

Now the situation is a bit better. Social awareness is higher. In big cities usually, it's not a problem for society that someone is LGBT+ person. Still, it's a huge problem in small villages. Sadly our current government doesn't help LGBT+ people. The situation is tense, but on a positive note, many people are very tolerant. 

About me, I found out about myself during studies when I sat down after breakout and started to think about what I want for myself.

I'm trying to live normal and tell people about myself like it's a normal thing to be gay because it is :-)

Agnieszka Daniel

ISPS | Elmsall Way

How long have you worked for Next?
11 Years

Tell us a bit about your role and your career with Next... 

I started working in 2009 at Autoput then I worked at Debenhams and Cotton Traders. All these departments are gone. 

It was a very beautiful time at work in Next, where everyone was very kind to each other - it was a very family atmosphere at work. I've been working in the new ISPS department for a month now.

Tell us about you as an LGBT+ person or ally...  

I'm a lesbian and I'm glad that Next supports us during pride month. I come from Poland, where LGBT rights are limited. 

The Polish President calls LGBT rights movement promoting a viewpoint worse than communism and agreed with another ruling party politician who stated that "LGBT is not people, it's an ideology." That is why Next support is especially important to me now.

I came to England to live and be a free LGBT woman. It was difficult and required a lot of changes. But I don't regret it because here I can be myself and speak openly - I'm gay

Are you involved in any groups, communities or charities that you would like to shout about?

I support the organisation Love Does Not Exclude Association - Stowarzyszenie Miłość Nie Wyklucza is a national non-governmental organisation committed to introducing marriage equality in Poland. Their goal is to ensure the right to marry for all, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. You can find out more information here

Would you like us to promote anything in LGBT+ History Month?

Yes, the campaign against homophobia in Poland. You can find out more information here

Matthew Barlow

Courier Department Adviser - Gedding Rd 

What age did you come out?
I came out when I was 20 years old  

What year was it? 


What was the reaction?  

My friends and family were proud of me, they weren’t shocked as they all secretly knew, my mum said ever since I went to dance school she knew, I’ve always been in touch with my feminine side and never go out without my Vaseline (I get dry lips, lol) 

How did you feel when telling your family/friends?  

I was nervous at first, but I don’t know why as we have family members who are part of the community, there was nothing to worry about, everybody loves me for who I am, a big ball of Gayness. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to come out?  

Being out means to me that I can be true to myself, have relationships with whom I feel comfortable with and be happy. 

What does being out mean to you? 

Never be scared, everyone is different, which is what being individual means. Your family and friends will love you for who you are. If you need any advice, my dms are open. 

Nadine Wynne

Assistant Store Manager 

What age did you come out?
17 (to close friends) 20 (to family)  

What year was it? 


What was the reaction?  

Everybody took it really well as it didn’t come as a surprise! My mum & dad already had a idea I was gay but they was just waiting for me to tell them myself...Which took me a while! 

How did you feel when telling your family/friends?  

My best friend was also gay who I’d grown up with so I felt comfortable telling her I’d met a girl and she told me she had a girlfriend too! Crazy! It was my dad who asked me the question ‘So when are you going to tell us then?’ whilst we were out having lunch one afternoon Which was embarrassing to talk about it but he was so cool about it! 

So after that was out the way it was such a relief that I could finally be myself and they accepted me for me. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to come out?  

I felt at ease speaking to my close friends first, before my family. The conversation will happen when you won’t even expect or plan to have it! So don’t rush it and tell people when your ready too.  

What does being out mean to you? 

It means I can be myself without having to hide who I am :)